a VirtualTourist member
Hello, my family & I will be driving from Vegas to the South Rim on Thanksgiving day this year & will be staying at Yavaipa lodge inside the park for the night. We planned on leaving vegas early so as to arrive at the canyon in the afternoon to enjoy the rest of the day there. My kids are between 6-13 & I will also have my parents with me, thus would like to know which hike or places we can visit that is easily accessable. Also is there any good dining recommendation for thanksgiving dinner aside for El Tovar? I heard it's good there but can be pricey giving our large family. The plan is for us to get up early to catch the sunrise the next morning, doing more sightseeing around the area then head back to vegas to spend the night there before heading back to LA on saturday. Also is there anything to do at night in the park after sunset? I heard it can be really dark there.The trip to the canyon is rather short thus any tips to see the best points with our limited time there is greatly appreciated!
Hi - There is a great hike you can all do! The Rim Trail stretches for 13 miles from South Kaibab Trailhead, to the east of the village, to Hermits Rest - which is the the last point on Hermit Road. Large parts of it is paved, it's virtually flat, and you do not have to do the entire thing. Heading east or west of the village, you can go as far as one of the shuttle stops and hop the bus back to the village.
I have done this one and it's great fun - although as you get farther away from the village to the west, the trail becomes dirt and is pretty much right along the edge. Again, do as much or as little as you're comfortable with but it offers great views.
It just so happens that you'll be there just before the shuttles quit running for the winter:
In the evening, see if there's a ranger program: those are free (so are the shuttles, BTW) and usually wonderful. Here's the fall program guide:
Looks to me like there's a 7:30 presentation at Shrine of the Ages. Also check the boards at the Visitor Center for special programs - such as star walks.
There are also all sorts of daytime programs so take a look through the rest of the program guide.
Do note that the state of Arizona doesn't recognize Daylight Savings Time.
Restaurants: I wouldn't feel too badly about El Tovar as we've done it and it was just OK for the price. Only a few are lucky enough able to snag the big windows, and you can't see anything at night anyway.
The other of the "nicer" restaurants is the Arizona Room. It's a little pricey too, and seats fill up fast.
If that doesn't suit you, the next one would be the Bright Angel Restaurant:
Prices are reasonable, and the food was fine last we ate there.
Does this help? I love the canyon: you're going to have a marvelous holiday. :O) Oh, and do take flashlights along as parts of the Village can be very dark at night; on purpose so you can see those twinkling stars.
Thanks for the tips! I didn't even know they have schedule activities at night after dark. I was worried we would be bored in our room. :-)
You're welcome. Hope they have something fun going on while you're there - which, because it's a special holiday, is very likely. A good book or a family board/card game might be a nice way to pass the time as well - not that we've ever found ourselves bored at the National Parks. By nighttime, we're usually so pooped from all the exploring that we're happy just to have a sit-down, a drink and a chat :O)
I like the evenings as the parks quiet down nicely after the day-trippers leave so it's actually a very nice time to be out a bit.
One tip? Snacks and whatnot tend to be expensive at the parks so I'd bring bottled water/beverages, breakfast items and munchies with you to have in your room if wanting to splurge on a nice dinner. If not, have breakfast at one of the cafeterias: not gourmet by any means but solid hiker fare that'll do the job.
One more note: there might be some sort of musical entertainment in the Bright Angel Lounge. Don't worry about bringing the kids: the entire South Rim complex is very family friendly.
it's getting closer to this trip and I'm nervous. I checked the weather & it looks like it will be Cold! i booked at Yavaipa and just called to see if there was any cancelation for one of the lodge near the rim but still not available. :-( The only one that is available is Maswik lodge. Is that closer to walk to the rim then Yavaipa? Do you think it will snow at night given it will be in the 19/20 degree range? I'm not a cold weather person so not sure if we should come prepared with chains for the tires. Thanks!
There really isn't much "right" on the rim except for some of the cabins at Bright Angel Lodge but none of lodges are really all that far away at all.
Sorry but you booked at time of the year where cold can just be just a fact of life at the canyon. You may probably need to bundle up, especially in the evening. Although it's in the southern part of the US, it's also at 7,000 feet - thus the chilly conditions.
You shouldn't need chains as they keep the South Rim pretty well plowed but you should be cautious of some slippery patches. You could also hit some road conditions near the Flagstaff area if coming in that way.
Keep an eye on the park website for most current weather and road conditions (all roads currently open):
The forecast looks pretty good to me: high of near 50 on Thanksgiving Day and little-to-no precip predicted.